MINNEAPOLIS – The Gopher Baseball team saw Creighton pull away in the late innings to claim a 7-3 victory for the second night in a row at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Minnesota (10-6) scored two runs in the first inning when Toby Hanson doubled home Terrin Vavra and then came around to score on a single by Cole McDevitt. Creighton (8-4) had an answer, using a double of its own and then a wild pitch to score two runs in the top of the third.
Clark Brinkman was 3-for-4 and scored two runs for the Bluejays, while Will Robertson was 4-for-6 with two RBIs. Creighton took its first lead of the day in the top of the sixth, with a double by catcher Michael Emodi and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Thomas Luevano. The Gophers answered back themselves when McDevitt walked leading off the seventh, eventually coming in to score on the first collegiate hit in the career of Jack Wassel.
“That was a bright spot,” said head coach John Anderson after the game. “I’m happy for Jack. He didn’t play in the first 11 games of the year. He’s just getting his feet wet. It’s always good to see people rewarded for working hard and doing the right things to get back on the field.”
The tie score did not hold as a controversial play cost Minnesota in the top of the eighth. A would-be sacrifice fly was ruled as dropped by the umpire, resulting in an extra baserunner for the Bluejays and extending the inning to allow Ryan Mantle to bring home another run, giving Creighton a 5-3 edge after eight. Robertson’s second double of the day brought home two more runs in the top of the ninth.
The Gophers loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on singles by Wassel and Ben Mezzenga and a walk by Luke Pettersen, but Bobby Kametas forced a groundball to get Creighton out of the inning and earn his third save of the season.
Nick Lackney started on the mound for Minnesota, allowing three earned in 5+ innings. Jackson Rose (2-1) suffered the tough-luck loss, striking out one in 0.2 innings. Preston Church (1-1) work 1.0 innings to pick up a victory in relief for Creighton.
“We had some decisions made in the course of the game by the umpires that had a negative effect on our team. We battled and battled, and the last three innings, we got caught up in the things we can't control. We got frustrated, got distracted from what we're supposed to be doing which is putting our thoughts and energy into playing the game. We got away from that today. There's going to be bumps in the road. There always is. I hope it'll be a good learning opportunity for us today based on what happened out there.” – John Anderson on the team controlling its emotions
Minnesota and Creighton will conclude their series on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium. First pitch between the Gophers and Bluejays is set for 12 p.m.
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